It’s Alive!
New gadgets bring inanimate objects to life
Tech / 7 Mar 2012
The line between the digital and physical worlds continues to blur, as evidenced by the buzz surrounding 3D printing’s ability to transform computerized renderings into tangible objects. And, since people are now reliant on technology for most everything they do, the one-dimensionality of analog products is leaving them, well, a bit flat. However, several new devices are designed to change all that by giving new “life” to formerly inert objects.
There’s now an easy way to know if one’s dog is snacking in the shoe closet or if the laundry is done. Twine is a new device that enables everyday household objects to tweet, email or text alerts. The 2.5 inch square box contains an accelerometer, temperature monitor, moisture sensor, and other external sensors that recognize surrounding activity. When it’s plugged in, it automatically recognizes a corresponding online application and reacts to what the sensors are “seeing” in real time. By setting up rules based on a menu of conditions and actions, users can go about their lives without having to worry about, say, a flooded basement.
Who hasn’t experienced the frustration of tearing one’s home apart in search of misplaced keys? BiKN is a gadget that works with the iPhone to locate missing items—or small children—via radio signals. Users simply fasten the thumb-sized BiKN tags to frequently lost objects. Then, by pairing the system’s RF-enabled iPhone case with the BiKN app, a display shows how far they are from the tagged objects. Items can even be “leashed” so that if they go outside of a set perimeter, an alarm will sound. And, for anyone who’s more inclined to lose their cell phone than their keys, the two-way system can be reversed to track the lost device.
There’s no shortage of musical apps for tablet devices, but Mogees is unique in that it can turn any surface into an interactive symphony. Harnessing something called the piezoelectric effect, Mogees connects a contact microphone to a system programmed to process sounds from gestures. Therefore, when its microphone is placed on a hard surface, that surface can become the keys or strings of a musical instrument. Every tap or swipe of the finger produces a different effect. Musicians can customize the program so that the act of tapping on a tree trunk may sound like a piano while flicking a desk could be heard as the plucking of a bass guitar.
©The Intelligence Group